Matthew Gardiner (AU / AT)
Origami, robotics, and gardening

At the highest level, Oribotics evolves towards the future of self-folding materials. Digital fabrication technology enabled Oribotics [futurelab] to be "grown" over 1400 hours in the Ars Electronica Fablab. The 3D printer sits in close proximity to the Biolab, where plants are cloned using synthetic methods to educate visitors about genetic technologies. This symbolically links to how nature uses folding in many contexts, the most significant being the folding of proteins, including DNA. This 'origami of nature' takes microseconds to complete thousands of folds, and a single folding error can profoundly effect the survival of the lifeform. Survival of the folded pattern is now a problem of past oribots, where repetition would gradually degrade the membrane. The current polyester fabric membrane  can be programmed with an oribotic pattern that will last
for the life of the material, over millions of repeated interactions.
The term ‘technological unconscious’ used in the Techno-Ecologies call seems fitting, given the state of wonderment the viewer enters into with this work. They are reminded of the fragility of nature, and are seduced by the perfection of the folds, and the aesthetic of light filtered through the softness of the fabric. We could imagine living with these robotic counterparts to nature, in our
living spaces, as an alternate to an organic blossom.
Significantly, oribots require maintenance (a little gardening) to survive, and without human contact and care, would surely pass away.

Matthew Gardiner (AU/AT), is currently an artist and senior researcher at the Ars Electronica Futurelab. He is most well known for his work with origami and robotics. He coined the term Oribot and then created the field of art/science research called Oribotics. Oribotics is a field of research that thrives on the aesthetic biomechanic, and morphological connections between nature, origami and robotics. For a comprehensive list of projects see http://matthewgardiner.net.